Pakistan’s president has approved a new anti-rape law that will create special fast track courts to try rape trials within four months and toughen sentences.
The law, will prohibit disclosing the identity of rape victims, as well as establish a national sex offenders registry and rape crisis cells for victims to undergo a specialist medical examination within six hours of reporting the incident, according to the Guardian.
Under the law, serial rapists may be sentenced to chemical castration, and officers could be imprisoned for three years for being negligent in investigating rape cases.
The move comes after a woman was gang-raped in front of her children when her car broke down on the highway in Lahore in September.
The case sparked nationwide outrage and protests, after the lead investigator suggested that the woman she should have taken another highway and should have made sure she had enough fuel for the journey, Reuters reported.
Two men were arrested in October and are currently in detention, according to CNN.
The legislation, introduced on Tuesday Dec. 15, takes effect immediately, and the government has four months to permanently pass it into law.
There were at least 845 incidents of sexual violence against women in the country in 2018, according to the Human Rights of Pakistan, which said that violence against women often goes unreported especially in rural areas, where poverty and stigma prevents victims from speaking out.